[Spellyans] 'As white as snow, as white as milk' in Cornish

Ray Chubb ray at spyrys.org
Wed Jun 29 11:55:59 BST 2016

I have put this point to Nicholas in the past but he didn't agree. It  
would be interesting to see what the rest of you think.

In the song 'Delkiow Sevi' the maid in question has a 'bedgeth gwin'  
until the end of the song where she succumbs to the man's advances  
when she has a 'pedn du'. Surely 'bejeth gwynn' in this instance means  
a virtuous face and when she has a 'penn du' at the end of the song  
she has a dark i.e. immoral head.

If I am correct this is a very subtle use of language by our Cornish  

On 25 Efn 2016, at 12:41, Ken MacKinnon wrote:

> A gowetha,
> There is also Scottish Gaelic usage of geal as well as fionn, and   
> also bàn.   These all have a range of meanings and applications in  
> their wider semantic spectra.
> -        An ken Ken
> From: Spellyans [mailto:spellyans-bounces at kernowek.net] On Behalf Of  
> Eddie Climo
> Sent: 21 June 2016 12:01
> To: Standard Cornish discussion list
> Subject: Re: [Spellyans] 'As white as snow, as white as milk' in  
> Cornish
> Good point, Jon. I think you’re probably right. In Cornish, ‘gwyn’  
> has well-known non-colour meanings such as (Nance, 1938):
> gwyn.  pale-faced, fair, pleasant, splendid;
>                         grand- Iin names of relationship);
>                         holy, blessed/
> Interesting, similarly extended meanings are found in other Celtic  
> languages with their words for ‘white’, both with cognates such as:
> Welsh: gwyn. white, pale, light, shining, bright, brilliant, holy,  
> blessed, neatific, good, happy, splendid excellent etc. (<Geiriadur  
> Prifysgol Cymru)
> Scots Gaelic: fionn. white, fair, pale; sincete, true, certain;  
> small; fine, pleasant; pale, wan; lilac; degree of cold;  
> resplendent, bright; known; prudent (Dwelly, Faclair Gàidhlig gu  
> Beurla)
> …and the non-cognate, as in:
> Irish Gaelic: geal.  white, bright, translucent; silvery; fair,  
> good; dear, beloved; happy (Dinneen. Foclóir Gaedhilge agus Béarla)
> Eddie Climo
> On 2016 Efn 21, at 08:51, Jon Mills <j.mills at email.com> wrote:
> Do you think that 'gwydn' refers to colour in these attestations. It  
> seems to me that 'gwydn' refers in these instances to 'virtue/ 
> goodness'. The English idiom 'as pure as the driven snow' (= morally  
> unsullied, chaste) springs to mind.
> Ol an gwella,
> Jon
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